With friends and fellow volunteers in purple Theresa Gonzalez celebrated her 97th birthday at the Christus Spohn Hospital in Alice Monday.

Gonzalez has been a volunteer with the hospital since it opened in 1999, but her volunteer service goes back to 1996. She works two shifts a week at the hospital's gift shop.

“It's a pleasure serving others,” Gonzalez stated. “Most people come to the hospital at a time of distress. Being at the gift shop is a way to brighten up the lives of those who come through the doors.”

Gonzalez has a valid drivers license with the State of Texas and drives herself around town. After her husband, Noe Gonzalez, passed away 14 years ago, Theresa has put her life into helping others even if its only for a few minutes.

“I have a simple life and eat well. I really don't have a secret to a long life,” Theresa said. “I don't have animals of my own. At my age I don't want to leave them alone and worry about who will take care of them if I get sick so I enjoy the neighbors pets.”

Theresa is the only surviving member of her family. She thinks of everyone at the hospital as her family as they do her.